My husband and I are both fairly adventurous eaters. He’s actually the perfect guinea pig for trying out all my recipe ideas on because he pretty much has no food dislikes. He has a mature palate and appreciates the little unusual flourishes that I sometimes include in my dishes.
It may come as no surprise that my children would rather prefer if mummy did not do so much experimental cooking. My son Luka has on many occasions exclaimed, “Why do you have to do a food blog mama? Don’t you know that I just want spaghetti bolognese?”
Finding the balance of keeping the adults and children happy at mealtimes is really difficult. I try to avoid having to cook two dinners where possible and this recipe is a perfect example of compromise in our household.
The children love chicken drumsticks and they like roast vegetables. So do we, but for us I’ve really turned up the flavour several notches with this tangy vinaigrette. The hazelnuts are so unexpected but provide textural interest. Out of sheer luck, I picked up a bottle of hazelnut oil that I used in the dressing that echoed the crushed nuts just beautifully. If you don’t have it, olive oil will do just as well.
10 (or so) chicken drumsticks
1/4 butternut pumpkin, diced into 2cm cubes
1 tin chickpeas, drained
2 bunches broccolini
1/2 cup hazelnuts (skins off if you can find them)
6 tablespoons hazelnut or olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vingegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat an oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Arrange the drumsticks and pumpkin (plus any other veggies the kids like) on the tray. Drizzle the lot with a little olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place the tray in the oven to bake for around 40 – 45 minutes, or until the chicken and vegetables are golden brown and cooked through.
Meanwhile, heat up a small pan and toast your hazelnuts in them. I could only find ones with skins, so after they were toasted and hot, I quickly dumped them into the middle of a clean teatowel and wrapped them up. After a couple of minutes steaming themselves, I rubbed the teatowel all over the skins and the came off.
Place the toasted nuts into a small grinder or processor and blitz until still coarse, not too powdery. Combine the ground nuts with the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.
Quickly blanch some broccolini in some boiling salted water, drain, then plunge into cold water to set the green colour and to stop further cooking.
To assemble, simply arrange the broccolini, pumpkin and chickpeas on the bottom of the plate. Top with two drumsticks then dress generously with the dressing.
Tastes as good as it looks!